Begin in Botero Plaza, the statue studded central park that fronts Medellin’s most popular museum. The plump proportions of these enormous pieces by Colombia’s best beloved artist, Francisco Botero, are instantly recognizable, and attract snap happy parents posing their children all over the thickly proportioned works of art.
The entire top floor of the Museo de Antioquia is also dedicated to Botero, and includes some of his most controversial pieces, depicting bull fights in all their gore and glory, and the “Death of Pablo Escobar,” a well known painting that marks the end of an era that this city must someday come to terms with.
Other excellent exhibitions include a solid collection of modern art, by both international and Colombian masters. A gallery of Independence-era oils, surrounded by period pieces, includes one of the nation’s most famous paintings, Francisco Antonio Cano’s “Horizontes,” portraying settlers—new parents—setting of to conquer the Colombian frontier. A display of prints and advertisements from the same period are a testament to this nation’s reputation for business savvy.
The gift shop is outrageous, and a reasonably priced cafe overlooking Plaza Botero is one of the most pleasant spots in the city center for a coffee or adult beverage. The fancifully striped gothic masterpiece across the plaza, by the way, is the Palacio de Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe, completed in 1937 thanks to the quirky genius of Belgian architect Agustin Goovaerts.